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Project TEMS

The effects of marketization on societies in Europe (TEMS)

In the European Union and beyond, policymakers have come to use the market as a general-purpose policy tool. Dissatisfied with the existing institutions of capitalism, they have introduced price-based competition into new areas of life and ratcheted up competition where markets were already present. In the TEMS project we have asked what the connection is between these shifts toward intensified competition and the overall increase in inequality in Europe. We label the introduction and intensification of price-related competition “marketization‟.

The aim of the project is to establish a new strand of comparative institutional research into this phenomenon, by developing, grounding, and testing a general theory of marketization.

The main proposition that the team has been assessing is that marketization leads to an increase in inequality, in terms of income, security, and participation. We have been exploring two main mechanisms through which this might take place: the extraction of profits in the marketization process by firms and investors, and the disorganization of civil society and social protection due to intensified competition.

TEMS ran from January 2013 to December 2016. The research team included Prof Ian Greer (PI, now at Cornell), Dr Lefteris Kretsos (now Secretary of State for Media and Communication in the Greek Government), Dr Barbara Samaluk (Greenwich), Dr Charles Umney (now at Leeds University), and Maria Mantynen (Greenwich). Valuable contributions were also made to the TEMS project by Rolle Alho (University of Helsinki), Jennie Auffenberg (University of Bremen), Genevieve Coderre-Lapalme (Greenwich), Nick Krachler (Cornell), and Lisa Schulte (Middlesex University). The project administrator was Shanaz Sumra.

One accomplishment has been to gather data and publish preliminary findings on four workplace contexts in four countries. These include hospitals, ports, social workers, and freelance musicians in Finland, France, Greece, and Slovenia, with additional material from Britain, Germany, and Brussels. Each case study has been painstakingly constructed from qualitative interviews, publicly available statistics, and various documentary sources.

Papers based on these data have appeared in Social Science and Medicine (2015), Human Relations (2016), and Industrial Relations Journal (2017) and been accepted at Journal of European Social Policy and British Journal of Industrial Relations (both forthcoming). Others are under consideration at other journals, and we are producing an edited volume and monograph. We have also blogged, made media appearances, and engaged in exchanges at numerous conferences aimed at academic and practitioners. We organized (or co-organized) conferences and workshops in Greenwich, Leeds, Ljubljana, Konnevesi (Finland), Berlin, and Ithaca (New York).

We gratefully acknowledge generous funding from the European Research Council (project #313613). For more information, please contact the PI at


Publications (as of July 2017)

Charles Umney, Ian Greer, Özlem Onaran, and Graham Symon. Forthcoming. “The state and class discipline: European labour market policy after the financial crisis.” Capital and Class.

Charles Umney and Genevieve Coderre-Lapalme. Forthcoming. “Blocked and new frontiers for trade unions: contesting ‘the meaning of work’ in the creative and caring sectors.” British Journal of Industrial Relations.

Lisa Schulte, Ian Greer, Charles Umney, Katia Iankova and Graham Symon. Forthcoming. “Insertion as an alternative to workfare: Active labour market schemes in the Parisian suburbs.” Journal of European Social Policy.

Ian Greer, Charles Umney, and Barbara Samaluk. Forthcoming. “Better strategies for herding cats? Forms of solidarity among freelance musicians in London, Paris, and Ljubljana.” In Virginia Doellgast, Nathan Lillie, and Valeria Pulignano (eds.) Reconstructing solidarity. Oxford: Oxford UP.

Barbara Samaluk. 2017. “Austerity stabilised through European funds: the impact on Slovenian welfare administration and provision.” Industrial Relations Journal. 48(1), 56-71.

Ian Greer and Virginia Doellgast. 2017. “Marketization, inequality, and institutional change: Toward a new framework for comparative employment relations.” Journal of Industrial Relations. 59(2), 192-208. (Please note: the work on this paper predates TEMS and therefore was not supported by the ERC.)

Charles Umney. 2016. “The labour market for jazz musicians in Paris and London: Formal regulation and informal norms.” Human Relations. 69(3), 711-729.

Nick Krachler and Ian Greer. 2015. “When does marketisation lead to privatisation? Profit-making in English health services after the 2012 Health and Social Care Act.” Social Science and Medicine. 124, January. Pp. 215-233.


TEMS events (2013-16)

18-19 June 2013. Fighting Austerity: Rebuilding Unions from Below. Athens. (Broadcast on Greek national television).

22-24 September 2014. Marketization and neoliberal restructuring in Europe (1). Co-sponsored by University of Jyväskylä. Konnevesi, Finland.

30 January 2015. Central and Eastern European employment relations in perspective – history, geography and variegation. Co-sponsored by the International Employment Relations Association Europe Section and the Work and Employment Research Unit. Greenwich.

1 July 2015. Marketization and neoliberal restructuring in Europe (2). Greenwich.

8-10 July 2015. Citizenship in Europe – from social to market values? Session at the Council for European Studies. (co-organized with Nathan Lillie.) Paris.

10 September 2015. Precarity and the shrinking welfare state. Co-sponsored by the University of Ljubljana Faculty for Social Work. Ljubljana.

10 December 2015. Markets, exploitation and employment in the music industry. Co-sponsored by the Work and Employment Research Unit. Leeds.

11 December 2015. Austerity versus Social Europe: Neoliberal labor market reforms on the Mediterranean. Greenwich.

16 June 2016. Marketization and neoliberal restructuring in Europe (3). Cosponsored by Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Ithaca NY.

6-8 September 2016. Marketization and the crisis of work in health and social services. Special session at the Work Employment and Society conference. Leeds.


Ethical information

Researchers on Project TEMS are bound by a strict code of ethical practice. The aims are to ensure that participants consent to take part in the project on the basis of sound information; that participants are anonymous; that the information they provide is confidential; and that their data is securely protected.

In addition to the information provided on this page, participants are also informed about the project and the ethical code verbally, at the time of the interview. Consent is asked both for participation in the study and (when applicable) the recording of research interviews. Participation in the project is voluntary, and we will see to it that participants are free to withdraw from the project at any time, without explanation, and with no possibility of repercussions.

We ensure that participation is anonymous and confidential by not sharing the identities of participants or the information that they provide outside of the research team. This means that in our publications, interviewees will not be mentioned by name (without their permission), and information will not be provided in the publications that would allow them to be identified. Furthermore, we do not use quotations without the interviewee’s permission.

We protect participants’ data by storing electronic files in password-protected files, devices, and drives and keeping hard copies in a locked cabinet. We anonymize interview transcripts prior to giving them to assistants to analyze and will store the data only until 5 years after we publish our final publication from the project.

We will not use this information for purposes other than research. The outputs will be academic books and articles, which typically require two years from submission to publication.

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